Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Australian scientist David Goodall, 104, takes own life in assisted death

Australian scientist David Goodall, 104, takes own life in assisted death

David Goodall, an Australian scientist who recently lost a legal battle in his native country to commit assisted suicide, died on Thursday, May 10.

The British-born scientist said this week that he had been contemplating the idea of suicide for about 20 years, but only started thinking about it for himself after his quality of life deteriorated over the last year.

With more than 100 research papers published and three doctorates under his belt, Dr Goodall was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to science, specifically the areas of plant ecology and natural resources management.

But he won a battle to stay in his office.

Goodall told CNN he would have preferred to have died when he lost his driver's license in 1998, adding that the loss of independence at 84 was a big moment in his life. Nitschke, the organization's founder, accompanied Goodall along with his family members during his final days.

Dr Goodall was asked to say his name, his date of birth and why he was at the clinic.

"A peaceful, dignified death is the entitlement of all who want it", it said on its website on Monday. "And it upset me greatly being constrained".

Goodall was of the view that his life was no longer worth living and his supporters applauded the decision to take charge of his fate. Starting in June 2019, terminally ill patients who have a life expectancy of less than six months can request a lethal drug to end their lives.

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David Goodall works in his study in the 1950s. "I'm looking forward to it", he said of his imminent death.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice past year.

"Professor David Goodall is at the vanguard of this generational change in deciding when and how to die", he said, urging more countries to adopt laws similar to those of Switzerland.

The renowned ecologist had flown to the clinic from his home in Australia where euthanasia is illegal.

Exit International, which helped Goodall make the trip, said it was unjust that one of Australia's "oldest and most prominent citizens should be forced to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity".

The scientist had traveled from Perth, Australia (where it is against the law to end one's life) to Switzerland to carry out the procedure.

Anyone seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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